How to Recognize That Each Relationship is a Unique Treasure
PHIL: There’s a balance in humans between being an individual and being part of society. Besides being individuals, we also identify with larger groups – family, neighborhood, city, gender, sports team and many more.
This identification fades with distance, perhaps ending at the boundary of your tribe, perhaps spreading as far as all of humanity. Think wars and politics, for example.
The need for a larger identification is because we are a social species; we need the contributions of others to survive, and TV series like “Alone” explore this.
This same issue of a larger identity applies in a relationship, too. Besides the sense of self, there is also the sense of the relationship, but the self is so foremost (and Western culture emphasizes it so much) that it dominates.
Our relationships with other people are verbal, of course; we share our interests in gardening or film noir, we sign contracts and checks; we joke and tell stories. But our connection is emotional, too.
There are lots of things that we don’t see until they are pointed out. It might be something like mist rising over the water, a spider’s web or the clouds. There are many, many things in our experience that we’re not paying attention to, but when they are pointed out and we look, they are indubitably there.
The sense of connection between two people is one of those things that we don’t see, but when we look at it, it is there; it has a tangible nature. The relationship we have with one person is unique; it is not like the relationship we have with any other person. The difference might be subtle, and we may not notice it; one checkout clerk can seem like any other, but it is there. It is in the interaction or lack thereof.
In personal relationships, that sense of connection is much stronger, but our self-absorption and focus on language can obscure its nature because it is experiential, it is the sense of the other person and you together. This relationship is not of your own invention; it consists of what both of you bring. It has its own existence, immaterial though it might be. It is the texture of the relationship itself. When you pay full attention to it, you are being present for the other person, and when they do the same, it can create a kind of magical technicolor connection.
This is where the quality of peace resides.Every relationship has its own unique nature; notice it and treasure it #relationships #quote Click To Tweet
MAUDE: Today, Phil and I are filled with thoughts on the direct experience of peace in relationships and how urgent it is to find those threads that will lead you there. To that end, here are some thoughts on the magic world of peaceful relationships and how to rejoice in their essence and uniqueness.
I emphasize essence and uniqueness because it is these very qualities that we often overlook. Each of our relationships with another has a special flavor all its own and offers us different opportunities toward learning and loving.
When we understand that each one has its own nature, we will be less likely to try to fit it into a generalized mold of how it should be or to try to make it something different than it is.
For this sense to pervade the experience of a relationship, we have to be aware that it is there. This is something you have to look at to see; to be open to it to sense; to listen inside to know. The we has to consciously exist alongside the me and the you.
This awareness can pull us out of our preoccupation with self, as well as our needs and projections onto the other person. It can push us toward accepting and appreciating what is, rather than wishing for change or wanting one relationship to have the qualities that another supplies. Honoring the uniqueness of a particular relationship allows us, even requires us to interact without comparisons or preconceptions.
Letting go of wanting something to be other than what it is, or to be something it is not, allows us to be present with what is. There is a quietness that comes upon you when you can be present in calm and pleasure with what is, and delight in the togetherness of you and your friend, lover, kin. When you can dwell in this feeling, you find yourself in a state of peace.
Photo credit: Francine Genta
Photo note: Three old friends
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